WASHINGTON, D.C. — Lawmakers on Capitol Hill are sending a clear message to China: we’re not selling our oil to the Chinese Communist Party. Last week the House passed legislation restricting sales to the CCP. Some are calling it an issue of national security.
With almost every House republican and at least half of the House democrats in agreement, they passed legislation aimed to restrict the sale of oil from our strategic petroleum reserve to entities that are under the ownership, control or influence of the Chinese Communist Party.
“China is ramping up its crude oil from Russia and the US to boost it’s own reserves,” said Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R- WA).
Last year, the Biden administration tapped into the reserves and released an unprecedented amount. The administration stands by their decision on releasing barrels citing the Russian invasion in Ukraine contributed to oil prices climbing which they said it also contributed to inflation. The administration tapped into the reserves to offset price increases.
“President Biden successfully used the SPR to lower prices at the pump and provide relief to American families,” said Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D- NJ).
Republicans argue sales from the reserve to China is a threat to our national security.
“America’s strategic petroleum reserve once the world’s largest stockpiles has been depleted to the lowest levels since 1983,” said Rep. McMorris Rodgers.
Democrats argue that the House should instead pass legislation that would include restricting the sale of oil from the reserves to other countries the US has sanctioned, like North Korea, Russia and Iran. However, analysts said the impact of the sale from our reserves on our economy would’ve been same regardless of where those barrels had ended up.
“The SPR sold to Chinese firms only represent two percent of all the oil we sent to China last year,” said Rep. Pallone. “Only two percent from SPR.”
Lawmakers say the focus should now be on re-building our reserves. That bill now heads to the Senate, but it’s unclear if the Senate will take up that legislation.